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Strikeforce Challengers Produces Fireworks and Controversy

A night filled with submissions and action packed brawls ended on a slight sour note as a previously undefeated Billy Evangelista was disqualified in his bout against Mike Aina in the evening’s main event.

Last night’s Strikeforce Challengers event was held in Save Mart Center in Fresno, California and aired live on Showtime.

The first round between Evangelista and Aina was a back and forth affair like many of bouts on the card. In the second round Evangelista scored a takedown and began to take control of the fight as he tallied off a vicious series of elbows. As Aina scrambled back to his feet he was rocked with a hard knee to the mouth while still partially on the ground.

A temporary stoppage was called and after the ringside physician had an opportunity to observe the damage inflicted on Aina from the illegal blow, it was ruled that Aina was unable to continue giving him the disqualification victory.

“I’m not going to take it as a win,” said Aina following the bout’s conclusion. “If it was my choice, I’d take it off my record.”

The co-headlining bout of the evening saw undefeated knockout artist Sarah Kaufman keep her winning streak intact as she pulled off the decision victory over an extremely game Miesha Tate.

Kaufman controlled the fight with superior striking in the first round before Tate managed to finally get the action to the canvas in the second round. It didn’t prove to be enough as Kaufman again avoided any takedown attempts in the third and final round while landing precise strikes to sail on to the decision victory.

Heavyweight smashing machine Lavar Johnson needed just eighteen brief seconds to dispatch of Carl Seumanutafa in dramatic fashion. Following a stuffed takedown attempt by Seumanutafa, “Big” Johnson sent a paralyzing uppercut crushing into the chin of the always dangerous EliteXC veteran which sent him crumpling to the mat in an unconscious heap.

A full list of results from last night’s action are listed below:

Mike Aina def. Billy Evangelista via DQ (illegal knee) – Round 2, 3:40

Sarah Kaufman def. Miesha Tate via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Lavar Johnson def. Carl Seumanutafa via KO (punch) – Round 1, 0:18

Aaron Rosa def. Anthony Ruiz via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 4:29

Bao Quach def. Tito Jones via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Spencer Herns def. Chad Sutton via majority decision

Fabricio Camoes def. Torrance Taylor via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 3:21

Thomas Diagne def. Kaleo Kwan via unanimous decision

Ben Holscher def. Cody Cantebury via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 2:07

Spencer Herns def. Chad Sutton via majority decision

Fabricio Camoes def. Torrance Taylor via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 3:21

Thomas Diagne def. Kaleo Kwan via unanimous decision

Ben Holscher def. Cody Cantebury via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 2:07

  • egad81 says:

    Aina knows he didnt win. The replay clearly showed him getting needed in the shoulder.
    Otherwise was a good night of fights

  • L0C0541 says:

    Man Aina was disgraceful. The 1st time I saw the replay I knew it didn’t land on his head, which to the shoulder is perfectly legal! I think it was a bad move on Strikeforce’s part for not showing the replay more than three times, at least UFC lets you know exactly what happens. I swear I wasn’t gonna watch SF anymore if someone else didn’t catch it either. And how dissapointing Herb Dean didn’t even catch it, you would of though he knew better. Both Aina and Dean should be ashamed of themselves.

  • garth says:

    I don’t feel Dean did anything wrong, strikes can fly through in weird ways. but Aina did fake it, he got kneed in the armpit, and did the whole “i have a tummyache” touching his face move for the rest of the night. he was more than happy to take a DQ win.
    a question: why is the five ounces writeup backing the “kneed in the mouth” angle, which is clearly not what happened? it’s CLEARLY not what happened. is 5 oz’s stance now to let their writers not report what actually happens? I’m curious.

  • Cory Brady says:

    I beg to differ with everyone that feels as if Aina was hit in the armpit. From my perspective, and I have freeze framed the moment of impact about a dozen times to be sure, it looks like the blow sailed just underneath the armpit and landed flush on the side of the chin, near his mouth. The side of his jaw that he was complaining about was the opposite side that the blow connected with, which makes sense with that type of a blow to the chin. I’m no doctor, but I have had my jaw busted before. If any of you have the ability to watch the fight over again, see if you notice how the knee shows up underneath the armpit and connect with the jaw. It’s quick, but it’s there. If you don’t see it, then I guess I will respectfully just have to agree to disagree with you.

    Having trained for years in MMA, and knowing countless professional fighters on a personal level, I have never been quick to say that a fighter took the easy way out, or that they quit. Look at all the people that said Jamie Varner was a disgrace to the sport following his bout with Donald Cerrone when it turned out that he suffered an injury to hs eye that was potentialy career ending.

    Of course there will always be those “experts” that continue to question a fighter’s heart or character at any opportunity, I’m just not one of them. Those are the types of people that most of the fighters are talking about when they tell me it’s almost impossible to go near the forums or comment boards in fear of throwing their laptop out the window.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, my opinion is that Evangelista accidentally nailed Aina with a knee to the jaw when Aina’s knee was clearly planted on the mat. Could he have continued? I’m not Aina, but nobody else is either, and to question a guy that goes out there and puts his health on the line time and time again for our entertainment without really knowing the facts is flat out disrespectful.

    Also, why didn’t Billy take the opportunity to tell the crowd and the audience at home that the blow hit him in the armpit? That’s a little interesting I suppose. The fact that he never denied that he landed the knee to the face right after the bout. He said he was waiting for his hand to come off of the canvas so he could time the knee. He said he thought that the hand had left the mat, which it may have, it was very close, but why would he wait for the hand to come off of the ground to throw a knee to the arpmpit? Knees to the armpit or shoulder are legal all day long. It doesn’t really matter because Aina’s knee was firmly planted on the canvas making it an illegal knee strike to the head of a downed opponent.

  • s00nertp says:

    “Cory Brady” thanks for the informative post. I dont know if you are a fighter, etc. but your argument makes sense & is a great read.

    — just another fan of the best sport ever: MMA

  • Milliniar says:

    after watching it i say it didn’t go under. What i saw was Evangelista’s hand in the armpit, the knee hit Aina’s arm and the arm hit his jaw, not a hit to the shoulder. Not being a fighter myself i can’t say that it makes a huge difference that it hit the arm first and spread the impact point to the jaw/head. does that count as a knee to the head of a downed oppenent maybe….he was aiming for the knee to head thats for sure though, but is that enough to count it as so?

  • jj says:

    who would have thought the ladies mma fight would be fight of the night? its not often we see two well trained and matched up women fighters, especially with one stepping in on short notice.

    i would like to see if the medical suspension will confirm anything about a jaw injury in the last fight.

    as much as i want mma promoters other than the ufc to succeed this was a terrible event. the production quality was crap as well, it felt like 90’s ufc. the cheesy red lights on the crowd made it look more like empty seats than anything.

    hopefully they’ll learn from their mistakes on the next challenger series…

  • freedom says:

    Cory: The knee landing on/under Aina shoulder is NOT an opinion. It is a fact that it landed on/under the shoulder. It cant and should not be interpreted in any other way. I tivo’d the event and watched it a bunch of times myself.


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